Tayrona is one of the highlights on every trip to Colombia. It’s supposed to be one of the most beautiful and biggest natural reserves in the country. You’ll find huge amounts of jungle that you can (and sometimes have to) walk through and while enjoying the hike you have the chance to see monkeys, butterflies, lizards and a lot of different birds. And of course the beaches are extremely gorgeous and calm. The tranquility and silence in the park is amazing and after having stayed there one day and one night, I can definitely say that Tayrona is a unique place in this world and I am super grateful to have been able to go there.
Actually, this wasn’t even that easy. But let’s start at the beginning. To get to Tayrona, I stayed in a hostel in Santa Marta, the closest town nearby. Here I want to mention, that I absolutely loved my stay at Hostal Kaia. It is a little outside of Santa Marta, but therefore it’s nearer to the bus that’s going to Tayrona. Plus, the city centre and the bus terminal are a quick (and cheap) taxi ride away from it. The atmosphere there is really chill and while I spent the night in Tayrona, they stored my big backpack for me with no additional cost.
But let’s get back to the topic. It took me three attempts to go to Tayrona. Attempt number one was buying a ticket online here. Turned out they didn’t accept my credit card, I suppose that’s because it’s not a colombian one. However, attempt number two was getting to the park quite early in the morning and thinking I already had my entrance ticket because a girl working in the hostel made sure, they’d reserve me a hammock. This didn’t work very well either cause you do have to buy your entrance ticket before you reserve a hammock and as the park was already full that day, I started attempt number three and bought a ticket directly at the counter for the next day. That worked. Some people told me, they got in buying their ticket the exact same day, but if you do that, be sure to be there really early (the park opens at 08.00AM so I recommend you to be there at 06.30AM the latest to be on the safe side).
Once you have your entrance ticket, you can reserve yourself a hammock or a tent in the park. The most popular place is Cabo San Juan but when I got to the reservation point, they only had space left in Castilletes. And I must say, I am actually grateful for that! Castilletes is about 20 minutes walking from the entrance and it’s a super nice place! Really chill and calm and with the beach directly in front of the camp site. Unfortunately you couldn’t swim at that beach because of the powerful waves, but I enjoyed it a lot jsut to stay at the beach, watching the waves, reading a book or listening to music. And there are so few people there! In the night I saw the stars as bright as I’ve never seen them before because there was literally no other source of light nearby. In the morning I saw a breath-taking sunrise.
On my first day in Tayrona, I decided to discover the park. Keep in mind that you have to do everything walking! Or on a horseback but that costs about $50.000 one way (about 15€). I only walked to Arrecífes, which was almost two hours hiking through the jungle and the beach. But once I got there, I got rewarded with a beautiful beach that I could swim in. I didn’t make it to Cabo San Juan anymore because that would’ve been another hour of walking. As you’re only allowed to walk around the park between 08.00AM and 05.00PM, I didn’t even stay very long at Arrecífes.
I must say that I didn’t really like the Arrecífes camp site. The beach was gorgeous, but the camp site was very dirty and not taken care of very well. I don’t know how it is in Cabo San Juan, but I do guess that there are a lot more people staying there, so prepare for it to be a little more crowded. I seriously admire all the people who walked to Cabo San Juan or Arrecífes with their huge backpacks! Let me tell you that it’s really exhausting to get there, so I would definitely recommend to leave your big backpack in a hostel and just take a small back with all the things you really need.
To sum things up, I totally think it’s worth visiting Tayrona. Nowadays it’s not that easy anymore to find untouched beaches and quiet nature, so that’s exactly what you can enjoy in Tayrona. And I do recommend you to take deep breaths there because the air is incredibly pure. Tayrona is perfect to calm down a bit and feel your ties with nature really profoundly. I had a great time there and hope every one of you, who’s planning on going there, will feel the same magic that I did.
- there are restaurants on every campsite and at a couple of beaches to buy food and/or water
- there are bathrooms and showers on every campsite
- the bus to Tayrona does not only pick you up at the „official“ bus stop but you can also wait for it to pass on its way – just ask the people at the reception of your hostel where you have to go
- it is recommended (for the whole of Colombia) to get a vacciantion against yellow fever about 10-14 days before you start your trip
Information on the park:
Colombians or residents age 5-25: $13.500 (ca. 4€)
Colombians or residents over 25: $23.000 (ca. 6-7€)
Foreigners: $54.500 (ca. 16€)
Colombians or residents age 5-25: $11.500 (ca. 3,50€)
Colombians or residents over 25: $18.500 (ca. 5,50€)
Foreigners: $44.500 (ca. 13€)
Hammocks and tents: around $25.000-35.000 (ca. 6-10€) per night.
→ High Season is 15 December to 30 January, the whole 10 days of Semana Santa (Easter), 15 June to 15 July and national holidays.
→ If you stay overnight, it doesn’t matter how many days you stay – you only pay the entry fee once. The rest is just payment for hammock or tent rentals per night.
Location: The entrance is located in the area Zain.